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Leander Class Frigate Atlantic Models1:350 Peters HMS Cleopatra in 1:350 shown as a guide Although the Airfix 1:600 HMS Leander hasnt been re-released since 1992, there are still a few available on the internet and Im sure a fair number lurking away in the stashes of BM members. Well, nows the time to get them out of the stashes and start building them with the beautiful etched brass detail set from Atlantic Models. The set comes in a white envelope with a card insert to prevent the sheet from being damaged in the post and some very descriptive instruction sheet. The single sheet measures 146mm x 97mm and contains over eighty parts to add that much needed fine detail to the kit. Aside from a full complement of ships railings, each shaped and sized to fit their specific positions, although some will need to be bent to fit, there are also a full set of flightdeck and hanger roof netting which can be positioned folded or upright. Some scratchbuilding is still required to bring the kit up to the correct standard of weapons fit and this is particularly shown with the need to build the Corvus chaff launcher enclosures. The set includes a base and two templates for which to shape the 20thou plastic card needed to build the enclosure up. Slightly less intensive is the modification of the kits Seacat launcher which is clearly explained in the instructions and which are further detailed with the four etched Seacats and the launchers guide frames. The two 20mm Oerlikons are also provided along with the Corvus launchers. The foremast upper pole section will look great when assembled, but will be quite fiddly in this scale, what with all its antenna. The rest of the foremast is also fully detailed, with a complete array of yardarms, platforms, platform railings and aerials, whilst the funnel is also fitted out with a pair of yardarms. The set also includes the dan bouys that were always carried, along with the liferaft racks and davits for the ships boats. The main mast is also given the full treatment with a complete array of yardarms, platforms, and aerials. Talking of aerials, ok radar arrays the Type 965 bedstead array is a complicated and tricky build in 1:350, well the same can be said for this one, only more so. A nice touch is that if you want to build a Dutch Leander then the set includes the Hollandse LW-02 radar array, which, it has to be said that its a lot easier to assemble. The two SCOT domes are provided with new platforms, and depending on the type of Leander you are build the SCOT domes were replaced by whip aerials, for which you will have to fashion out of styrene sheet. To the rear of the ship, the hanger is provided with a new door and floodlighting bar. The Variable Depth Sonar, (VDS), well is fitted with three cable drums, the frames of which are included, you just provide the styrene rod, or sprue to make the drums. The VDS itself is scratchbuilt to the dimensions given in the instructions and fitted with the etched cradle, while the VDS frame with its pit head cable gear is all provided. The paravane derrick is also included and fitter to the port side of the quarterdeck. Lastly the Wasp helicopter is provided with new undercarriage legs and wheels, stabiliser, plus main and tail rotors. Conclusion This set is exactly what we have come to expect from Peter Hall of Atlantic Models. Comprehensive, detailed and very delicate, just what the Airfix kit has been crying out for to bring it bang up to date. As usual, care and patience are the order of the day when using etched brass, but itll be worth it. Very highly recommended Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of
HMS Cleopatra Atlantic Models 1:350 The Leander class was the UKs most successful frigate design. This design combined operational flexibility with excellent sea-keeping in affordable ships that were adaptable to new requirements. Leander s were very active with Royal Navy aircraft carrier task forces and in other operations. This section covers the RN ships as built. A separate section covers these ships as modernized. In the late 1950s the naval construction directorate added air conditioning and a helicopter facility to a Rothesay (Type 12) design intended for New Zealand. Features brought forward from the Type 12 design included the hull shape, the engineering plant, and part of the armament. Elimination of deck-mounted tubes for the cancelled Mk 20E heavy torpedo permitted a larger superstructure while still leaving paths on deck for underway replenishment. In a new seawater-compensating fuel system, fuel tanks once emptied of black oil could be refilled with seawater to maintain proper trim. This eliminated the Type 12's separate water-ballast trim tanks and permitted the relocation of heavy equipment in their stead low in the ship. Both diesel electrical generators were relocated from the forecastle to a lower location forward of the boiler room. Their exhaust vented through ducts in the foremast, which was stepped further forward than in the Type 12. With the resulting increased stability margin and the additional internal space, the designers added a large operations center, the helicopter facility, variable-depth sonar (VDS), long-range air-search radar, more-capable communications, a centralized galley, active stabilizer fins, and provision for Sea Cat missiles for close-range air defence. The Admiralty, greatly liking this design, ordered conversion to it of an authorized Type 61 frigate and of three Type 12 frigates on the building ways. These became the first four Leanders. The Leander class never had a frigate type number, in particular not Type 12M. Type-numbering of new designs was functionally irrelevant after the RN abandoned the mobilization strategy in 1954. During the 10-year construction program the installed armament varied.. The Canadian-developed combination of variable-depth sonar and a ship-based helicopter was intended to equalize the fight against fast submarines. With VDS, the helicopter, and the improved operations room, Leanders could engage submarines at longer range, which improved the probability for detecting submarines and gave more time to engage. Seven of the first 10 ships mounted imported Canadian SQS-504 VDS as Sonar Type 199 and four later ships mounted British-built licensed copies. Other ships carried the hoisting gear for the VDS but never received transducers. The first ten ships retained the Y-100 steam propulsion plant of the Type 12 and Type 14 frigates. The next six, Phoebe through Danae, had a Y-136 improved propulsion plant. The final ten ships mounted the same armament as the preceding ships but featured a Y-160 automated propulsion plant and a wider hull for modernization. The RN built 26 Leanders and other navies built 18. This total of 44 set the post-1945 record for construction to one design among frigates and larger warships outside the United States and Russia. Elaborate finish was arguably wasteful but perhaps good appearance contributed to foreign naval orders for Leanders. Exclusive of weapons, in the mid-1960s construction cost about the same per ton as for the contemporary USN Knox-class (DE/FF 1052) frigates. The Leander program reportedly bolstered American political enthusiasm in the 1960s and 1970s for frigates, although the U.S. Navy designs had no technical connection with the British ships. Newer warships derived from the Leander design have included HMS Bristol, the RN Type 22 frigates, and the Indian Godaviri and Bramhaputra classes. HMS Cleopatra, was the last ship of the first batch of the Leander class and was laid down at HM Dockyard, Devonport on 19th June 1963. She was launched on 25th March 1964 and commissioned into service on 4th January 1966. Cleo as she became known joined the 2nd Destroyer Squadron of the Far East Fleet to where she was deployed for the first part of her career. This also involved taking station off the coast of Mozambique on the famous Beira patrol, which was designed to prevent oil from reaching the landlocked Rhodesia, who had unilaterally declared independence. During 1969, HMS Cleopatra was one of the 5 ships escorting HMAS Melbourne when the Melbourne was involved in the catastrophic collision with the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans and became involved in the subsequent rescue operation. Early 1972 saw Cleo on escort duties for Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philips tour of South East Asia, then in 1973 she was assigned to the North Atlantic area to protect British trawlers from the Icelandic gun boats during the second Cod War. HMS Cleopatra then began her mid life refit, during which she had her twin 4.5 Mk6 Turret removed and replaced with a bank of four Exocet missile box launchers. She and HMS Penelope were the only Batch 1 Leanders to have this modification, as the other eight were converted for Ikara. In 1982 saw Cleo in refit again having the large Towed Array Sensor equipment fitted to the stern and the superstructure modified with the larger hangar to accommodate the Lynx helicopter that was replacing the Wasp on all small ships. The mortar well was plated over to make a larger flight deck for Lynx operations. She continued to carry out her duties through the 1980s though she was starting to show her age by the early 90s. On January 31st 1992 HMS Cleopatra was decommissioned and sold for scrap the following year. The Model After the magnificent release of HMS Glamorgan Peter Hall has now released what is probably one of the most sought after classes in 1:350, the Leander Class frigate HMS Cleopatra. The model comes in the standard sturdy cardboard box with a picture of HMS Cleopatra on the top. On opening the modeller is confronted with a sea of polystyrene chips. Carefully emptying the box will reveal two ziplock bags, one with the metal parts in and the other with the resin parts. Well wrapped in bubblewrap is the main superstructure, and hull, which is in two parts, split at the waterline so that either a full hull or waterline model can be built. At the bottom of the box are the etched brass sheet, which is quite large considering the size of the kit, a CD containing the instructions and the decal sheet. As we have come to expect from peters work, both with Atlantic models and the greatly missed White Ensign Models the casting of the resin hull is superb with no sign of even a pinhole bubble. The amount of detail on the upper hull has to seen to be believed and must have taken the moulding to the edge of what is possible or casting defect. There are some small moulding pips, all on the join of the two hull parts, so easily removed without damaging any of the detail, and a quick test fitting showed that the fit between upper and lower hull is pretty darn good, considering the problems that different shrink rates can cause. That said you will probably need to do a little bit of fettling to get a perfect fit and to remove the join line. The lower hull is moulded with the propeller shaft fairings moulded into the stern, and also a pair of very fine strakes either side pluse what look like two sonar domes, one a lot shallower than the other. The main forward superstructure is also beautifully moulded with some very fine details and includes pretty much all of the fixtures in place. The resin fittings provided include the funnel, hanger roof, with director mount, twin 4.5 turret, foremast, mainmast, chaff launcher enclosures, 27 Whaler, 25 Cheverton motor boat, Gemini inflatable, punt, although in the review example two have been provided, mortar mounting base, Limbo mortar, forward director mounting and a lovely looking Wasp helicopter fuselage http://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/atlanticmodels/cleopatra/bridgejpg The metal parts look pretty good and are well moulded, but theres still the problem of having quite a bit of flash. This shouldnt put the modeller off as they are easy to clean up and do really look the part. The metal parts provided are the two 4.5 gun barrels, Corvus chaff launchers, GWS22 Directors, aft director tub, Seacat launcher, 993 radar array, 978 radar array, VDS body, Liferaft canisters, a choice of either early or late foretop mast array, anchors, propeller shaft A frame supports, searchlights, rudders, Stabiliser fins, and aft deck windlass. Etch Sheet The large single sheet of relief etched brass is packed full of the finer details that go to make these models a delight to view when built. As well as a full ship set of railings, the sheet contains items such as the liferaft canister shelves and racks, the stays, plates, panel and screen for the 965 bedstead radar array, boat davit support frame and upper section, single 20mm Oerlikon mountings, Dan buoy, glidepath indicator light, bridge roof davit, chaff launcher flare guns, propeller blades, early and late mast top arrays, main mast gaff, anchors, should you not want to use the resin ones, prop guard buffers, sword and shield antenna, RAS gantries, Seacat missiles and launch rails, ships nameplates, foremast and main mast yards, platforms, foremast DF antenna, fuel can stowage racks, vertical ladder stock, anchor chain stock. The prominent Variable Depth Sonar parts include the body side fins, gantry pit head wheel, pit head stays, side arm, body cradle, and centre bracing, whilst the Wasp helicopter is fitted out with undercarriage parts, main and tail rotor blades, main rotor control linkages, and flotation device pods. Decals The decal sheet is very nicely printed, and its a pleasure to see a kit like this come with decals. Apart from the obligatory Union Flag and White Ensign, the sheet includes enough numbers to produce any of the class pennant numbers for both sides and stern. Also included are each of the ships names for the port and starboard quarter, their code letters for the flightdeck plus the other flightdeck markings which include two types of landing circle and finally the depth markings for the ships sides. The Wasp helicopter is also provided with decals, and these include the roundels, Royal Navy titles, and the helicopters specific number, which changed when changing ship and for which there is a very useful list of what serials went with what ship. You will need a good pair of magnifying glasses to read which number is which though. Conclusion It has been a long time coming, but at last we have a Leander class frigate in our midst, and what a blinder it is too. Peter is a one man band, but his craftsmanship and attention to detail on these cold war classics is second to none. Of course it does help a little that he served his time in the RN/FAA when these ships were in service so hes got no excuse to get things wrong, (I say this as an ex-FAA man myself, although with a memory thats obviously fading quicker than his). These arent throw together kits, but they are well designed and with a good dose of patience and quite a bit of care they shouldnt cause too much trouble for anyone of intermediate skills and above. What you will get at the end of a rewarding build is a super model of a wonderful ship. The idea of having the instructions on CD is good as it does mean that you can blow them up to make them easier to read although if you need to, you can get a paper version on request. Peter is already working on modifications for the Ikara fit and may even release another of the Exocet and Seawolf fits, so theres more Leanders to look forward to, I cant wait. Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of